In 2014, Eddie Cohen embarked on a 10-day silent meditation retreat to further his practice of quieting his mind. Sitting within the refuge’s interior spaces, he began to notice that the objects around him were poorly designed, and left him feeling uninspired. As he meditated, he began to contemplate people’s subconscious sensitivity to their environments, and how seemingly inert items around us can affect our greater sense of calm and well-being. He concluded that the level of intention put into designing a product should be commensurate with the importance it holds in our lives.
The revelation became the guiding philosophy of Walden, a Brooklyn-based line of meditation accessories that Cohen co-founded in 2018 with Calvin Lien, who serves as the company’s creative director. It seeks to create a new design language in the wellness space—one rooted in purity of form and materials rather than showy patterns and ōṁ symbols—by using values shared by the age-old practice of meditation and of pared-down design to inform its concepts. “We want to honor the history of each product we [create],” Cohen says. “Our goal is to reintroduce them with a distinctive veneration for the original concept.”
Walden’s mission is perhaps best captured in its seating collection. Created by Cohen with Lien, who previously served on industrial design teams at Microsoft and Google, the pair sought to create a meditation cushion that was functional and beautiful, and that would feel at home in contemporary interiors. They deliberated on the design for six months, refining its profile and developing a durable, proprietary, moisture-resistant fabric with a satin-like feel and an easy-to-clean antimicrobial coating. Inside, buckwheat hull—the hard outer shells of buckwheat grains that have been used to fill traditional round, pleated zafu meditation cushions for centuries—gradually conforms to a user’s posture, and is capped with a layer of gel-infused memory foam for additional comfort. (Walden also offers a cushion in a thick, tactile dyed-canvas covering without the memory-foam topper; both come in a range of colors and can be paired with one of the line’s rounded mats.)
Other pieces are similarly and thoughtfully distilled to their essences, with the aim of facilitating a quiet space in a user’s home and mind. Last month, Walden introduced its Lava Rock Essential Oil Diffuser, the sculptural result of numerous tests conducted by Cohen and Lien to determine which natural material best circulates scent in a space. The diffuser features a dark porous rock, hand-sourced from a volcanic field in Arizona, supported by a smooth, understated aluminum base that creates a stark contrast in texture and form. To use, simply place a few drops of essential oil, such as the woodsy Forest variety developed by the brand, on the stone’s surface, and let its holes disseminate the aroma. Walden’s Mirror Incense Holder, another recent addition, positions a fragrant stick above a raw, hand-polished metal plate that catches the falling ash. Over time, the stand will develop a patina from the residue’s natural oils. (We suggest using it with the company’s soothing, sandalwood-scented Meditation Incense Sticks.)
Early next year, Cohen and Lien will introduce a line of objects around the idea of keeping time, such as an analog meditation timer. The upcoming series affirms that, even as Walden expands its offerings, it will continue to focus on tools that aid in contemplation and slow people down. “If we can help people practice more,” Cohen says, “we’ve done our jobs well.”
“What is the texture of scale? Can a surface be eliminated? Can space expand?” Viewers encounter these and other questioObjects in Sculpture” (through Oct. 10), Minnesota-based designer Jonathan Muecke’s first solo presentation in a major museum. For Muecke, a
In a city boasting many of the world’s greatest art museums, it’s perhaps easy to overlook the jewel that is the Morgan Library & Museum, which spans more than half a block, between Madison and Park Avenues, in Manhattan's Murray Hill neighborhood. But witmultiyear restoration of the original library building’s exterior finally complete, as well as the just-overhauled Morgan Garden, unveiled la2006 expansion by Pritzker Prize–winning Italian architect Renzo Piano, which integrates the site’s three historic buildings within th
Among all the significant seats in the design canon, few are as recognizable as Emeco’s 1006 Navy Chair, which was designed in 1944, in the midst of World War II, for the U.S. Navy. Resourcefully made from
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In 1918, Dutch architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld developed the first iteration of his influential Red Blue Chair. A member of the de Stijl art and architecture movement, which espoused the belief that a post-World War I Europe couldDer Aesthet, and to attach it under the seat: “When I sit, I do not want / to sit like my seat-flesh likes / but rather like my seabeyond the point of intersection. By magnifying these oft-hidden details, Rietveld forged a new transparency in design—and spoU-Joints: A Taxonomy of Connections, an independently-published compendium from architect Andrea Caputo and design professor Anniina Koivu, who served as e
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Last week, the Earth slid between the moon and sun, inciting a heady lunar eclipse that transformed our usual relationshManitoga, a stunning midcentury home turned design center that’s nestled between a granite quarry and a mossy slope in upstate NDesigning Nature” (through November 14). Fittingly, the first piece visitors encounter is the Eclipse Ceiling Lamp, designed by the contFormafantasma in 2016, which casts new, entrancing light on its surroundings.
Nestled in a cozy pocket of Newburgh, in New York’s Hudson Valley, is an architectural gem designed in 1949 by Philip Jograppling with how to address Johnson’s legacy in the aftermath of his fascist views becoming more widely known—the property was purchased and restored by Jiminie Ha,With Projects, and art director Jeremy Parker. Determined to establish the residence as a symbol of inclusivity, the two have reimagiWolfhouse, a community-focused cultural space and incubator with public programming centered around art, architecture, and design
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If you look around your living space, there’s a good chance that all the furniture in it is designed for adult use and cNalata Nalata’s upcoming exhibition, “Starter Chair” (May 14–22), celebrates furniture that was lovingly made on a different scale—one specifically for children.
To speak with self-described “citizen artist” vanessa german about her creative practice is to talk with her about art as a means of revitalization and protection. Particularly for
In the late 1960s, Czech psychotherapist Stanislav Grof concluded, through his research on LSD at John Hopkins Universit
During a recent sort through my recycling—paper-towel tubes, condiment containers, and other receptacles—I noticed that
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Stefan Sagmeister is a contemporary polymath. Following his curiosity through many forms, the Austrian-born, New York–baobjects, installations, and participatory artworks throughout his decades-long career. (Sagmeister speaks about some of these projects and others on Ep. 8 of our Time Sensitive podcast, and on Ep.106 of our At a Distance podcast.) While his output, at first glance, might appear to move wildly between subjects, a closer look reveals a consistent i
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From the looks of things, physical retail may well be losing out to e-commerce (and perhaps soon, shopping in the metaverse). But a comeback for brick-and-mortar stores appears to be on the horizon, and if the architects at the Paris-based firm Moinard Bétaill
For several years, artist Dan Colen wasn’t exactly sure how to talk about Sky High Farm (SHF), a nonprofit 40-acre regenerative ecosystem he created in New York’s Hudson Valley that, since its beginnings in Ep. 40 of our Time Sensitive podcast. “And the lightest touch seemed to be through products.” In 2019, he partnered with the international concept shop Dove
A cone is a many-splendored shape. Both aesthetically pleasing and functional, it can do everything from redirect traffi
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Clothing designed to endure such harsh conditions as sub-zero temperatures, damp romps in rainforests, or icy traipses tEp. 69 of our At a Distance podcast.
While fashion brands often design their garments based on fleeting trends, twin brothers and athletes Nick and Steve TidVollebak, with a more certain future in mind: one that involves environmental threats and the continued exploration of space, an
There is something universally comforting—deeply intoxicating, even—about petting a soft, warm coat, deep with pile. MayFuwa Fuwa ( “fuzzy,” in Japanese): “I reach out to touch the fluffy, soft fur, gently run my hand over the broad nape of the neck
2014 may have been the year of the booty, but it took me six cold and less-than-sterile more (plus 2020’s lockdown) to get mine into the warm seat of a Toto Washlet C200, my top pick in this rotund—or rather, well-rounded—assortment of bidet toilet-seat attachments—and love-letter the for
Green thumbs have long extolled the value of raised garden beds for their weed-reducing and water-retaining abilities, nPlanted—a New York–based company that provides resources and materials for cultivating your own food, including seedlings sourc
In recent decades, art has steadily expanded into the digital realm, thanks, in part, to copious new apps, tools, and tuForest Crayons, a series of prism-shaped drawing implements that are made from natural materials and that use wood as their sole sourc
Despite being among the most abundant tree species in Finland, pine has been largely overlooked and underutilized as a fVaarnii seeks to revive the use of pine in furniture making, and with it, forge a new era in Finnish design that celebrates the
While the bonnets and muskets seen in Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg—the early American settlement turned immersive ouCraft & Forge, a wide-ranging line of spare, everyday accessories for the home that will debut at the end of the month.
Before fast fashion became the norm, children typically learned how to make their own clothes, often from their parents Almaborealis, a line of D.I.Y. sewing kits that teach kids the value of creating garments that last.
A Digital Museum Tells Time-Honored Stories of the Indian Subcontinent Through Everyday Objects and Family Heirlooms
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Those who have come to embrace CBD—short for cannabidiol, a chemical abundant in the cannabis plant that, unlike its sibEpidiolex, to treat rare seizure disorders; the majority of scientific studies on the chemical have been conducted on animals.) T$16 billion by 2025, fueled by users who report relief from afflictions including anxiety, depression, and stress. So it seems only natural
For Lorne M. Buchman, president of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, the creative process rarely conYves Béhar, Paula Scher, and Frank Gehry, as well as companies such as Apple and Tesla, attest to such experiences in Buchman’s neMake to Know: From Spaces of Uncertainty to Creative Discovery (Thames & Hudson), as archetypes that demonstrate the value of embracing the unknown as a way to unleash new ideas.
A Fashion Designer Transforms Deadstock Textiles and Upcycled Sleeping Bags Into Wearable Life-Saving Shelters
While producing a line of luxury outerwear, Dutch fashion designer Bas Timmer learned that the homeless father of two ofSheltersuit Foundation as a means of producing the pieces on a larger scale. Since then, the organization has given away more than 12,500 Shel
La Samaritaine, a historic Parisian department store that towers over the banks of the Seine, spent the last 16 years unDior Spa Cheval Blanc—a collaboration between the hotel chain and the French fashion house—promises “happiness in the heart of Paris,” a tall
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At a Los Angeles Exhibition, “Almost-Dysfunctional” Japanese Pottery That Conveys the Circle of Life
In Plato’s dialogue Timaeus, the word khôra—the territory just outside the Ancient Greek city center—is used to describe a condition that serves as a womb-like spa
According to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, a full garbage truck’s worth of plastic flows into our oceans almost every minute. While e
The ingenuity of the Parentesi lamp, first released by the Italian lighting brand Flos in 1971, is most evident when it’s handled: Slide the nickel-plated
Elyn Zimmerman Created a Memorial to the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing—Then It Was Destroyed on 9/11
Elyn Zimmerman will never forget the exact moment when, on February 26, 1993, a truck bomb exploded in the World Trade Center’s underg
“Berbere was the first design I did that had the ability to become a new classic,” Gaia Repossi says of her first collection for
“There should be as many clothing repair shops as there are gas stations,” says Satchel B. Moore, founder of the Saint PScience and Kindness. “After all, there are more pairs of pants in the world than there are cars.” Moore started the initiative, which he ru
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“This is a new world,” says Cyrille Vigneron, president and CEO of Cartier, during a gala dinner he recently hosted on tSixième Sens (“Sixth Sense”), the luxury house’s newest collection. He continues, “High jewelry belongs to the world of sensory stim
The spareness of Scandinavian design is a school of thought—and a way of life—that’s responsible for the popularity of sTekla, the aesthetic approach means creating everyday pieces for the bed and bath that are high-quality and low-fuss, informe
Earlier this month, a stately structure covered in angled white bricks opened its doors in the East Williamsburg area ofAmant Foundation, a nonprofit arts organization that values a slow, focused approach in making and viewing art. (It has a sister locatio
“Sustainability” is stamped on so many products these days—having become corporate America’s go-to buzzword throughout tEp. 103 of our At a Distance podcast; he’s trying to tackle this issue head-on through data and analytics.
The archeologist-turned-goldsmith Loren Teetelli spent more than 100 hours hand-forging a single 22-karat gold cuff for Loren Nicole, in 2016. Jean Prounis is another millennial who’s mastered the time-honored craft of goldsmithing. The New York–based designer begins her pro
“I’m constantly looking for new links between light and color, but my collections always start as a dream,” says Claire Holographique, unveiled this week in Paris during the city’s fall/winter 2021 haute couture fashion shows, is yet another foray onto
Technology, especially when it comes to screen time, can simultaneously induce sensory overload and sensory deprivation.Google’s first retail store, which opened last month on the ground floor of the company’s Manhattan headquarters (just blocks from The Slowdown’s CEp. 11 of our Time Sensitive podcast) toward a singular goal: to create an environment that demonstrates “how humans and technology [can] come together,” as
In his 1982 book Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, the late futurist John Naisbitt predicted that people employed by technology companies would crave real-world social c
One year ago, entrepreneur Jaé Joseph and creative director Brianna Wise released a survey that doubled as an applicatioBlack Apothecary Office (BAO): a three-month-long accelerator program designed to help Black- and Latinx-owned beauty and wellness start-ups reBAO Universe, a digital marketplace offering goods such as velvety face oils, silky moisturizers, and hydrating shampoo from some of
“I don’t just look at stones. I need to touch them, and feel the life inside them,” says Lucia Silvestri, who sources geBulgari and serves as its creative director. “There’s sensuality in the energy of gems born in the depths of the earth.” Such v most exquisite pieces designed by the Roman jeweler to date. (Some 200 other items will be added to the collection later
Slow’s headquarters sits within Marina Marina, a sprawling multi-building campus located just outside Berlin’s city center. When it officially opens, next spring, th
When Louis Cartier designed the Tank watch, in 1917, its rectangular dial was a bold departure from the round cases of the era. Inspired by an aerial view of the
Kintsugi, the time-honored Japanese practice of using powdered precious metals to repair broken ceramics, has steadily gained poKintsugi: The Poetic Mend (Bloomsbury). In it, she interviews kintsugi masters, details various techniques, and considers potential grounds for the custom’s development. Here, Kemske discusskintsugi’s origins and why it resonates so strongly with people today.
A New Film Highlights Fashion Designer Margaret Howell’s Admiration for Understated Japanese Objects and Materials
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Yolande Batteau’s Latest Body of Work Reflects a Passionate Personal Investigation of Materials and Self
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Since ancient times, people have looked to the sun, moon, and stars to create a sense of rhythm and order in their livesLittle Lange 1 Moon Phase watch elevates the poetic movement with a copper-flecked, midnight-blue silver dial that shimmers like the night sky, a
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Vietnamese-American Stylist Beverly Nguyen Pays Tribute to Her Family and Friends With a New Pop-Up Shop
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When a loved one passes, the typical death care options are both limited and harmful to the planet. Conventional burial Recompose, an NOR funeral home located in a Seattle suburb and designed by local architectural firm Olson Kundig (whose principalEp. 37 of our Time Sensitive podcast). Last year, two other NOR companies were formed in the region, signaling that the practice isn’t a pipe dream, but a r
For many diners, using “biodegradable” or “compostable” takeout containers is one way of doing their part in protecting don’t break down in a backyard composting bin and require special conditions to degrade. The Canadian company Case has a better solution: a circular system for food receptacles.
Because of its ubiquity, it’s tempting to describe Emeco’s iconic Navy Chair, designed in 1944, as basic. But that would
As the vaccine rollout continues, previously closed galleries and museums have, thankfully, continued to steadily reopenWhen Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan,” on view through July 11, presents an ode to the tradition of Japanese architecture and handcraft. On display are an atōryō. The collection of beautiful saws, chisels, and planes demonstrate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Japanese joiner
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East Fork imbues traditional clay tableware with a sense of delight, resulting in pieces that are instantly recognizable. The commonth)—while its expansion into the lifestyle realm, with online recipes and carefully culled pantry items, such as black gar Your products often immediately sell out. A few months ago, an article in the New York Post called your passionate fans the “new potheads.” What makes East Fork’s pieces so covetable?
Recent studies attest to what the crafters among us have known for a long time: that the rhythmic, repetitive nature of knitting, crocCelia Pym, working with her hands is more than a stress-relieving pastime—it’s instinctive. She grew up in a family where repairi
Is our obsession with newness an ailment of capitalism? Kintsugi, the traditional Japanese art of mending broken pottery, has been around for more than four centuries—but its philosophkintsukuroi, meaning “golden repair”—sees breakage as a valuable asset that adds to an object’s history. Fragments are pieced back
Textile designer Anni Albers, who was born in Berlin at the turn of the 20th century, brought a modernist touch and expe“In a Slow Manner,” the first presentation at Paris’s Maison du Danemark since it completed an extensive renovation. Opening Feb. 3, the sh
Hand-wringing and hand-washing seem to be defining this time warp of a pandemic. When it comes to the latter, we’re partSlowdown hand-wash set from the New York upstart Dally Goods—not just for its name (which, to be clear, we’re not connected to), but its ethosExperts say fantasy can provide a way through difficult times; if harmless daydreaming can get us through this moment, we’ll happily indulge in a bit of wanderlust where we can find
Technology and industry often get much of the credit for fueling the United States’ development, but for curator, writerCraft: An American History (Bloomsbury), out next week, Adamson shows how skilled laborers shaped the nation, telling remarkable, often surprising
Dental grills might seem like a latter-day invention, but they’re actually anything but. Decorative tooth accessories weRi Serax, whose outrageous embellishments are worn inside the mouths of rap and R&B artists including Jpegmafia, Princess Nokia,
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Wood boxes are something of a national treasure in Japan, where Buddhist monks began tucking stoles, prayer beads, and okiribako—boxes handcrafted from paulownia, a native tree with lightweight, durable, water-resistant timber—into the mainstream. Masuda Kiribako, which has been skillfully producing traditional receptacles since 1929.
Three years ago, French furniture and object designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance—whose clients include Baccarat, Bernhardt Made in Situ that champions the traditional crafts, techniques, and materials of the region through objects he designs and makes witsoenga. How did the idea for Made in Situ come about?
Imagine shopping a trove of objects that are at once elegant and ethically made—no post-purchase consumer guilt necessarGoodee, an online marketplace of homewares and clothing that make a positive impact on people and the planet. Founded by Montrundulating Pakurigo baskets handwoven by artisans in Ghana from locally sourced vetiver grass, vegan seaweed soap that cleverly uses coriander seeds and peppercorns as exfoliants, and the sought-after Goodee Hoodie, recently released in three new colors (dusty rose, Egyptian blue, and alabaster) and made from Egyptian cotton by the Kotn. There’s also a handsome German Douglas pine daybed from Danish B Corp Skagerak, topped with Kvadrat upholstery, and a Japanese windmill palm fiber “corner brush” designed to dust the undustable. Feel like decking the halls? Try these multihued Jipi Baubles tree ornaments, handmade from Jipijapa palm tree leaves by Colombian artisans in the Andes. For those on our gift lists, including the
That we’ve all likely considered relocating to another planet at some point this year may be no bad thing, according to In a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, the group describes their experiments with the organic polymer chitin that demonstrate its viability as a building matEp. 16 of our Time Sensitive podcast)—with a mineral equivalent to Martian soil. They used it to successfully construct an array of objects, including a worProject Olympus, a research initiative looking to develop structures that can be 3D-printed out of lunar dust. Working with the Austin-he recently told Fast Company. “It’s actually going to make construction on Earth even faster, even cheaper.”
Fashion brand Kilomet109, headquartered in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, is reviving the country’s textile traditions with each piece in its men’s
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“Many people think play is just for children,” says London-based designer Michelle Rinow. “But it’s necessary through alTransforming Touch, a series of knitted lights that encourage users of every age to engage in a bout of old-fashioned fun. Rinow cleverly
Wonder Valley’s hinoki body oil—a cult favorite among beauty and wellness bloggers—is formulated around a simple moisturizer that’s been embraced by va
There are roughly 2,000 species of cacti found around the world. The speciality plant store Hot Cactus, run by a collective of creatives in Los Angeles, stocks some of the rarest breeds online and at its shoebox brick-and-Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia), is made expressly with the elongated napiform root of peyote in mind. For $70, you can nab one of Morris’s Peyote Pot grow kits: Each comes with four seeds so you can germinate your own Lophophora fricii, a cactus species that’s native to Mexico and commonly referred to as “false peyote.” That is—sorry to disappoint you—n
By now, it’s a well-known fact that the multi-trillion-dollar fashion and apparel industry ranks as a top polluter world10 percent of annual global carbon emissions. It is also the third-largest consumer of the planet’s water supply—exceeded only by the oil and paper industries—and is set to double its consumption rate by 2030. Much of this water is Living Colour, the duo experiment with pigment-producing bacteria as a sustainable alternative to artificial textile dyes, which are Design to Fade, the very first bacterial-dyed sportswear collection. “We see it as a collaboration with the organism,” Luchtman says,
Japanese culture is known worldwide for its meticulous approach to hospitality—and, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, thTokyo Toilet project invited 16 world-class designers to rethink this humble, often overlooked, piece of public infrastructure.
Abby Bangser, founder and curator of the art and design fair Object & Thing, shook up the New York scene last spring with a refreshing debut that freely mixed online commerce with curated, exhibi
Toilet paper, like so many everyday items, has become a political point of contention in this maelstrom of a year, one t$31 billion tissue-paper industry in North America, as designers Benjamin Critton and Heidi Korsavong, co-directors of the Los Angeles art and design galMarta, point out. And with their latest installation, “Under/Over,” on view through Nov. 1, they’re addressing this dark underlayer of the Big T.P. industry with a group show examining thPlant Paper (which makes toxin- and tree-free toilet paper using only fast-growing, FSC-certified bamboo), Critton and Korsavong in
When New York Fashion Week announced its anemic lineup for this month’s showings, the writing on the wall was as plain aEp. 69 of At a Distance, the fashion and apparel industry is a known top contributor to environmental pollution worldwide—and, as it grapples w
To an industrial designer, plastics and metals are typically a native language while natural materials are a foreign tonBradley Bowers didn’t touch them until graduate school, at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and discovered an approach to manipHalo, debuted this past spring. Bowers’s flair for transformation shines through each fixture, where sheets of cotton paper,
Getting a full-body exfoliating treatment is an experience, to say the least—one that will leave you feeling silky smootGoshi towel, made in Gunma, a prefecture of Japan touted for its textile and silk manufacturing, is no mere loofah. Woven wit